McLeod: Out of the Silence; Percussion Concerto; The Shostakovich Connection; Hebridean Dances

Reviewed on Mon 06 Aug, 2018

Evelyn Glennie, for whom the Percussion Concerto was composed in 1987, attacks the feature-rich, five-movement work with gusto ... Under the composer’s own baton, the RNSO play with utter conviction, at once lithe, lyrical and muscular.

Eighty-four this year, John McLeod’s profile continues to rise with a quartet of full-bodied orchestral pieces from Evelyn Glennie and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Glennie, for whom the Percussion Concerto was composed in 1987, attacks the feature-rich five-movement work with gusto – its brace of substantial Scherzos delivered with a thrilling vivacity matched blow for blow by her muscular Scottish accompanists. The earliest work here, The Shostakovich Connection (1974), pays articulate homage to that composer’s Fifth Symphony, the most recent, Out of the Silence (2014), with its enlarged, exotic percussion section, tributing no less eloquently Carl Nielsen. The set of five Hebridean Dances (1982) are wonderfully variegated exercises in evoking the remote, bleakly beautiful islands. Under McLeod’s baton, the RSNO play with utter conviction, at once lithe, lyrical and muscular, Holly Mathieson ably taking the podium for the more rarefied atmospheres of Out of the Silence. Involving recorded sound and informative notes by Stephen Pettitt.
–Michael Quinn